Please to take a seat and stay a while. This is a long post—but a raw honest & heartfelt one. In a hurry? Bookmark Deanna‘s post for when you have the time. You wont regret it.
My story is similar to a lot of women out there trying to lose weight – the classic yo-yo dieter.
The yo-yoing began at the age of 12, I remember being on the grapefruit diet and being “congratulated” by my mother’s friend for losing weight. I distinctly recall being proud of myself and happily telling this woman how much I lost, yes at the tender age of 12.
I am not sure why I always referred to myself, considered myself and thought that I was the chubby one, the fat sister, daughter, and friend but I did, and because that’s what I thought – if it wasn’t true it definitely became true.
Like most yo-yo-ers I tried every diet out there, the grapefruit diet, the 3-day diet, stay-slim, cabbage soup diet, LA Weight Loss, Atkins, and Weight Watchers. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I walked through the hallowed Weight Watchers doors. Looking back, I wasn’t an obese child by any stretch. I was a chubby baby, but looking back now in my childhood pictures I wasn’t the fat kid, hell in elementary, middle or high school I wasn’t even the chubby kid.
My parents were afraid that I had the propensity to be heavy like some family members and in order to make sure “the buck stopped here” they gave in to my dieting whims and because of that I subconsciously recorded this horrible tape in my head that I was fat and not thin at a very early age – a recording that I am still trying to erase, and re-record.
Don’t get me wrong I had a great childhood, a big Italian family, parents who were always there for my four sisters and me.
We were a close knit family, which we still are today and when my Dad was diagnosed with MS my mom transformed our family from healthy eaters to über healthy, make your own yogurt, tofu -bean sprout eating, before it was “in” healthy eaters.
Now unfortunately my well-rounded home life, even with a sick father, was counter balanced by an unhealthy elementary school life. I was in a small catholic school surrounded by mean girls that seemed to go out of their way to exclude me from everything.
Of course I blamed all on this on the fact that I was overweight, except that I wasn’t over weight and this added to the that subconscious insecure recording that told me I wasn’t thin enough, smart enough or pretty enough and this manifested itself into a consistent and unhealthy binge eating habit (one I still fight to this day).
During and after college dieting became my unhealthy obsession. Over a ten-year period I lost the same eighteen pounds approximately twenty-five times. After the triumphant weight loss, I got cocky, slid off my program and gained back what I had lost and about ten extra pounds.
Why eighteen pounds? I’m not certain, but when I looked back at my Stay Slim, LA Weight Loss or my Weight Watcher cards, the magic number is always eighteen. By now I was over 200 pounds and was at this weight pretty steadily for the next few years and even managed to get pregnant. While my pregnancy was easy, I only gained nineteen pounds but my self-esteem was at an all-time low.
After my son was born I suffered from Post-Partum Depression, turned to food, and during this dark, sad angry time in my life I gained at least twenty five more pounds. Here I was with a beautiful healthy new baby and I couldn’t get out of my own way; I had a loving supportive husband, family and friends yet I was miserable because of my weight. Every time I looked in the mirror I hated what I saw.
I literally shame spiraled faster than Charlie Sheen on a bender.
My self-hatred and abuse came from myself and not from anyone around me. I can honestly say that in all our nineteen years together my husband never once uttered a derogatory comment about my weight. I wish I had it in me to love myself the way he loves me.
It wasn’t until February 2008 that I started to take losing weight seriously; I just had my second son and was just unhappy. My sister and I joined an online MSN Biggest Loser contest which involved starting a blog, tracking your weight loss, and connecting with other contestants. By the time the contest ended I lost 18 pounds, that magic number –again. I was scared out of my mind.
Mizfit actually left a few comments on my blog. One in particular that became my own personal mantra, “The scale is just a HUNK of metal!”
While I continued to blog with my circle of friends, and found the community of support that I so desperately needed, I managed to lose another ten pounds.
And then one day I hit the sweet spot when seemingly out of the blue-after a year or so of watching my hot fireman husband train for half-marathons I got it into my head that I had to start running. I’m not really sure what came over me, but I got up, put on my really bad and not conducive to running sneakers and ran.
Well, I ran/walked, cause let me this was as hard as hell, my whole body hurt from the experience, but unlike any other exercise it I did it managed to over ride, quiet down at times literally turn off the bad self loathing recording that was constantly playing in my head. I’m not sure why this happened.
I felt so damn great when I ran I was a damn Army commercial and was truly being all that I could be; running did for me what years of therapy could never do.
Over the next nine months I didn’t lose another pound, and according to my BMI I was still considered obese. It was at this time that my dear friend Betsy (from Gluten Free Betsy) on a whim sent me the application to be part of Health Magazine’s Feel Great Weight Loss Program.
I sent in the application at the last possible moment and to my utter surprise I was actually chosen to participate. At the exact moment I was given a free membership at Equinox, a personal trainer 2x a week and monthly visits to a wonderful nutritionist at Nourish, Inc., I lost my job.
I was laid off at the exact moment that I really needed to concentrate on my getting my head and body in shape.
When I found out that I had to write a weekly blog for the magazine I was determined to make the most out of this amazing opportunity the Universe had chosen to drop into my lap.
I knew this was my moment to put this issue to bed. During my time with Health Magazine I lost an additional twenty-nine pounds, for a total loss of fifty-eight pounds, in the process I gained back the self-esteem I destroyed so many years ago.
It was an amazing education and experience of a lifetime.
Since then I’ve completed 3 half-marathons, 2 duathlon, countless 5k’s, three road relays (two were 24 hour relays covering 180+ miles) and am training for my 4th half marathon, a sprint-tri, and have committed myself to running one event a month for this entire year, an idea I admittedly stole from Roni!
As I manage my family, work, running and well the normal ups and downs of life, I am committed to purging those last remaining twenty pounds.
I’m steadfast in continuing my healthy relationship with food, my body and ultimately myself – so that my kids can grow up in an active healthy home.
They are picky eaters and it’s a daily challenge – I strive for everything in moderation – because I’ve learned that if I don’t allow myself the occasional treat, my cravings pile up on each other and when the stress of life kicks in I’m more inclined to venture off into the dark side and been there not doing that again!
Deanna blogs at The Unnatural Mother.